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* Investment company buys 20 pct stake in CNSX for C$1.6 mln
* Offers to buy up to 49 pct of CNSX
* Urbana headed by veteran exchanges investor Thomas Caldwell
* Exchange operator small player in Canada
By Solarina Ho
TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Financial investment company Urbana Corp said on Monday it is seeking to acquire up to 49 percent of CNSX Markets Inc, the operator of Canadian National Stock Exchange.
Urbana said on Monday it bought a 20 percent stake in CNSX for C$1.6 million ($1.63 million).
Toronto-based Urbana, headed by veteran exchanges investor Thomas Caldwell, said that CNSX shareholders voted in favor of Urbana's offer to buy 4 million common CNSX shares for C$0.40 a share.
CNSX investors also approved a plan to issue an additional 4 million common shares to existing CNSX stakeholders for C$0.40 a share, with Urbana agreeing to buy any unpurchased shares.
Urbana, which owns stock in a number of stock exchanges around the world, will also buy an undetermined amount of CNSX stock from current shareholders for C$0.30 a share until Dec. 27.
The two transactions together will entitle Urbana to own up to 49 percent of privately held CNSX.
"For emerging companies looking for an exchange on which to list efficiently, the CNSX is outstanding," Urbana's chairman, Caldwell, said in a statement.
"Given the new landscape in the Canadian exchange sector, CNSX's flexibility and advantages make it a great addition to Urbana's portfolio, with significant upside potential both as a business and an investment."
The CNSX is an alternative stock exchange to TMX Group Ltd's TSX Venture Exchange and operates Pure Trading, an alternative trading system. Together they make up a little over 3 percent of the Canadian marketplace, as measured in value.